Stunning aquamarine, itchy poison ivy, and incredible quartz finds!

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

| Updated

Stunning aquamarine, itchy poison ivy, and incredible quartz finds!

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

Updated

Another exciting week of rockhounding has wrapped up and the Rock Chasing community has been busy! This week we’ll cover: 

  • Some incredible amethyst, quartz, and aquamarine finds
  • How you can win some new gear
  • The importance of a good rock pick
  • How to avoid getting into some itchy situations while hunting

All that and more below!

Win new gear in our community!

We are giving away new equipment every month to followers of our social channels. Every follow gives you another chance each month to win some great rock hammers, chisels, books, and other essential gear!

Click on the links below to sign up!

Find Of The Week

Large cluster of amethyst

This beautiful amethyst was found in the Diamond hill mine in South Carolina. What a great find in a spot that has some amazing locations for rockhounding!

If you have any new finds you’d like to share with the Rock Chasing community please send them to [email protected]. We would love to share and will happily give you credit!

Our New Guide To Rockhounding Equipment Is Up

We’ve taken your suggestions and updated our Guide to Rockhounding Equipment to incorporate all of the fantastic advice provided by the community. If you’re considering updating your tools or don’t know where to start this is the guide for you.

We go step-by-step through the various tools and equipment that we (and the Rock Chasing community) has had a lot of success with. We tell you why it’s important, how we use it, and give some recommendations on affordable tools that have been great for us.

Check it out if you need to replace some gear or want to spend your money on the tools that experienced folks swear by.

How to Value and Price Jade

While there are only a small handful of spots along the West Coast of the US where you can find jade, it’s still one of the favorite things for many rockhounds to collect. Jade is one of the most beautiful and valuable precious stones out there. It is extremely popular for jewelry and carvings today and has been for thousands of years. 

In fact, there is a very famous Chinese proverb about jade that states “there is a price for gold but no price for jade”. 

There are quite a few different varieties of jade out there which can make determining how much a piece of jade is worth tricky but not impossible (despite what the proverb says)!

We’ve put together a guide on how you can value the jade you have that can give you a very good idea of what it’s worth based on the major characteristics like:

  1. Color
  2. Type
  3. Treatment
  4. Translucency

If you have any jade in your collection or just have an interest you should check out the guide.

Community Tip Of The Week

Every week one of our members share a valuable tip or a big mistake they’ve made in their rockhounding journey. If you have a tip or mistake you’d like to share email us at [email protected]

This week’s tip comes from Brian R. in Denver Colorado:

Make sure you keep an eye on the plants around you!

On a recent rockhounding trip I spent much of my time searching along creek beds in a remote wooded area. With my eyes glued to the ground I paid little attention to the various trees and bushes that I would brush against along the bank.

Big mistake!

At some point, I went through a big collection of poison ivy and ended up with a very itchy return trip! I did end up finding some great new items for my collection but I paid for it over the next week. Make sure you know how to identify poison ivy and poison oak if you want to learn from my mistakes.

Brian R.

Gear Spotlight – Rock Hammers

This week we’re talking about the most essential piece of any rockhound’s tool kit, the rock hammer or rock pick. It serves as an extension of the rockhound’s hand, allowing them to interact directly with the geological world.

The pointed end is used for breaking rocks and prying loose specimens from their surroundings, while the flat end is used for splitting layers along their natural planes. It can also be used to clear debris and test the hardness of potential finds.

As we talk about in our complete guide to rockhounding gear, a rock hammer is not just a tool, but a gateway to discovery, turning the seemingly mundane into a treasure trove of geological wonders. It’s the rockhound’s key to unlocking the secrets of the Earth.

We’ve been using the 22 oz Estwing Geological Hammer for a long time and it’s easily our favorite for most activities (we’ve tried a bunch of them). When you’re evaluating a good hammer you need to consider:

Type of Hammer: There are two main types of rock hammers: the crack hammer and the pick hammer. The pick hammer has a pointed end and is good for prying rocks loose, while the crack hammer is heavier and is used for breaking hard rocks.

You’re better off getting both types but if you have to choose between the two we tend to favor the pick hammer.

Weight: The weight of the hammer is crucial. It needs to be heavy enough to break rocks effectively, but not so heavy that it’s difficult to carry or use. A weight of around 22 ounces is often a good compromise.

Handle Length and Material: The handle should be long enough to provide good leverage but not so long that it’s unwieldy. The material should be durable and comfortable to hold. A rubber or plastic grip can provide comfort and reduce slippage.

Quality of Steel: The head of the hammer should be made from high-quality steel that can withstand repeated impacts without chipping or breaking.

Safety: A good rock hammer should have a flat face for safety. This reduces the chance of chips flying off when the hammer strikes a rock.

Versatility: Consider a hammer that can serve multiple purposes. Some rock hammers come with a pick on one end and a chisel edge on the other, making them versatile tools for different rockhounding tasks.

Dream Aquamarine Find

This incredible aquamarine crystal on albite flaked with tiny spessartine was unearthed in the Shingus Mine in the Shigar Valley of Pakistan. Easily the prize of any rockhound’s collection, this incredible specimen is a stunning example of the vivid blues that you can find in high-quality aquamarine. 

It might have the best clarity, but the size and shape of this gem is truly something special. Can you imagine finding this on one of your trips???

About Keith Jackson - Geologist

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He is an active Geologist with a wealth of experience and information from across the country that he loves to share with the Rock Chasing crew.

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